MORGANTOWN — Before the season, Amir Richardson was the perennial star for the University High football team, and for good reason — a first team all-stater and touted Division-I prospect.
He was going to have another D-I recruit throwing him the ball in quarterback Logan Holgorsen. That duo was supposed to lead the Hawks offense in 2018, but head coach John Kelley wanted everyone to make sure no one forgot about Evan Parow.
The 6-foot-0, 161-pound senior seemed to have a shadow cast over him despite putting up 682 yards and three touchdowns a year ago as a junior.
Coach was right as Parow, on an offense full of offensive firepower, was the sparkplug for the Hawks as he was named the Moss Award winner, given to the state’s top wide receiver, by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“This is what I’ve been working for all year,” said Parow, the first Moss Award winner at UHS. “Before this year, no one really knew about me and now to be recognized like this is a dream come true.”
Parow lit up opposing defenses to the tune of had 68 catches for 1,152 yards and 19 touchdowns in 10 games — near or at the top of the state leaderboard in all three categories.
“This season meant a lot to me,” he said. “I put in a lot of work in the offseason and it’s great to see it all finally pay off.”
With Richardson on the outside, defenses tried to double-team or shade to his side of the field early in the season, and the Hawks adjusted to get Parow in matchups that got him open consistently. But Kelley believes that isn’t the only reason Parow had the season he did — defenses also made adjustments and Parow made plays anyway.
“Defenses started to figure out the type of player Evan was and even when they moved players around to take him away, he still made things happen,” Kelley said. “What’s amazing about Evan is his knack for catching the ball — in traffic or with guys all over him, he still made catches.”
It didn’t always appear that way for Parow, especially early in his high school career. He came to UHS as an undersized running back — as Kelley said, “We used to call him Gumby. He was a wiry kid and he was never going to pass the eye test, but he had deceptive speed and we knew we may have had something there.”
After moving to receiver and steadily improved year after year until finally exploding as a senior.
A special connection with Holgorsen from the get-go also helped Parow put up the type of numbers he did. It was a natural relationship and with Holgorsen’s ability to make pre-snap reads and Parow’s ability to find the open spot, it was a match made in Heaven for UHS, which ran a spread attack.
The Hawks consistently ran run-pass options to Parow and that’s one of the biggest reasons he found the end zone 19 times.
“Logan and I work really well together,” Parow said. “We put a lot of time in outside of practice getting our timing down. We both knew how I could get open in any coverage — it was a special connection. I was very fortunate to have him as my quarterback this year.”
Parow accepted a preferred walk-on spot at West Virginia and has offers from several Division II and Division III schools, but it was a chance to live out a childhood goal, as well as the engineering program, that kept him home.
“I dreamed of playing at WVU since I was little,” he said. “Now, given the opportunity, I’m definitely going to take it.”